December 6, 2018 brianradio2016

After a flurry of Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) reports from annoyed Surface Book 2 owners, Microsoft has decided to pull the update that was causing them.

Windows 10

Thanks to Reddit users and news reports, Surface Book 2 owners may have been able to dodge Microsoft’s untested update KB4467682, released on November 27 for Windows 10 version 1803.

Many Surface Book 2 owners reported that their $3,000 convertibles have been suffering several BSOD outages per day as a result of the update.

It caused some to question why Microsoft hadn’t tested the update on its flagship Surface device, especially when the impact in some cases is to brick it.

Almost a week after users began reporting the issue, Microsoft has now acknowledged the problem in a note on the KB4467682 support page. However, the company also emphasized that the update was “optional”.

“For Surface Book 2 customers, we are only blocking this optional update. You will receive the required December 2018 security update release,” Microsoft said.

Microsoft also promises a resolution for the bug will appear in the December 2018 security update.

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

Windows IT pro Woody Leonhard used the buggy update to reiterate his call for Microsoft to start testing its “C or D release” updates, which refers to the non-security Windows 10 updates Microsoft releases in the third or fourth week or the month.

The C or D releases are meant to give admins time to test a smaller set of bug fixes on systems before the next Patch Tuesday release.

“Microsoft should be testing these patches before they’re pushed. I’m not talking about employee-tested dogfood. I’m talking about real, live testing regimens, out in the real world,” argues Leonhard.

As he points out, only cumulative updates for the latest version for Windows 10, currently version 1809, go through preview testing with Windows Insiders.

Microsoft should be putting all supported versions of Windows 10 through the same process before releasing them to the general public.

Previous and related coverage

Windows 10 BSOD: Pricey Surface Book 2s bricked by latest 1803 update

Sleuthing Surface Book 2 owners figure out Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 update is to blame for Blue Screen of Death woes.

Windows 10 graphics: Intel unveils new ‘modern’ drivers for 1809 and beyond

Intel is rolling out Universal Windows Drivers that are required for Windows 10 1809.

Surface Book 2 (15-inch): Microsoft supersizes its most powerful portable PC

Microsoft’s newest addition to the Surface line is a 15-inch beast with surprisingly good battery life.

Microsoft lifts Windows 10 1809 block after Apple fixes iCloud for Windows

Microsoft unblocks the Windows 10 October 2018 Update for one group, but several other blocks remain in place.

Microsoft: Crash-causing Outlook 2010 security patches are now fixed

Microsoft’s new Outlook 2010 update ought to provide the critical security fixes without the crashes.

Windows 10 1809 big iCloud problem: We’re working on fix, say Microsoft, Apple

Microsoft blocks the Windows 10 October update for iCloud users, while incompatibility problems also hit F5 Network’s VPN.

Windows 10 1809’s new rollout: Mapped drives broken, AMD issues, Trend Micro clash

Steer clear of the rereleased Windows 10 October 2018 Update, IT pro warns. Meanwhile, Microsoft promises fix for buggy mapped drives at some point next year.

Windows 10 activation bug baffles, angers users

Mystery bug is telling Windows 10 users that their legitimate license is no longer activated. Microsoft is working on a fix.

Windows 10 1809 ZIP bug now fixed: So will Microsoft rerelease October update today?

Microsoft rolls out a preview fix to address the Windows 10 October 2018 Update ZIP copy fail.

Windows 10 audio problems? Intel issued buggy driver but we fixed it, says Microsoft

Intel accidentally pushed an incompatible audio driver to Windows 10 devices through Windows Update.

More Windows 10 October update woes? HP users report BSOD after Tuesday patch

Admins struggle with the latest Windows 10 1809 patch on some HP systems.

Windows 10 1809 bungle: We won’t miss early problem reports again, says Microsoft

Microsoft makes changes to its Feedback Hub after failing to notice early reports flagging up data losses caused by the Windows 10 October 2108 Update.

Windows 10 October update problems: Wiped docs, plus Intel driver warning

Back up files before upgrading to Windows 10 1809, and if you get a warning about Intel drivers, do not proceed.

Microsoft begins rolling out Windows 10 October 2018 Update

Microsoft is starting to roll out the Windows 10 October 2018 Update today, starting with Insiders and those ready to proactively grab the new bits.

Windows 10 October 2018 Update: 5 new features business users will love TechRepublic

Windows 10 is getting a big update in its next release. Here are some of the enterprise-centered features to expect in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2 and Surface Headphones: Everything Microsoft just announced CNET

Plus: Windows 10 October 2018 Update is now available.

December 6, 2018 brianradio2016

Tablets have gotten more powerful over the years, but even top-tier 2-in-1s like Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Apple’s iPad Pro are still a step away from replacing laptops for many business users. They do provide a very attractive alternative to lugging around a notebook on business trips, but these flagship tablets start at anywhere from $650 to $900 and can easily climb to $1,500 or more after you configure them and add in the cost of a keyboard case and stylus. That kind of expense is hard to justify for a device that’s secondary to the laptop a business worker needs for everyday use.

That’s where smaller second-tier tablets can come in. Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad and Microsoft’s new Surface Go for Business carry significantly lower price tags than the iPad Pro and the Surface Pro, yet they’re still powerful, well-built and ready for business. Can they replace a laptop entirely? Not for most people, but neither can their more expensive siblings. And for short trips, they do provide a lighter alternative that lets workers get the job done without overly burdening them with gear.

After checking them out on short day trips, I took the sixth-generation iPad and the Surface Go for Business on a business trip to Europe. To see how they compare, I used them for everything from writing documents and running spreadsheets to emailing and showing presentations.

To make these tablets road-ready, I equipped each one with a stylus and a keyboard case to make typing easier than using the on-screen keypad. With the Surface Go, I used Microsoft’s $100 Pen stylus and the $130 snap-on Surface Go Signature Type Cover. With the iPad, I used Apple’s original Pencil stylus ($99), but for this iPad model, the company doesn’t make a cover that’s equipped with a keyboard. So, I used Logitech’s $100 Slim Folio iPad Keyboard Case, which you can get through Apple’s online store and at other outlets.

While the Surface Go for Business starts at $449, my test machine came in at around $830 with its accessories. The iPad starts at $329, but the model I tested added up to around $760 with accessories. That’s still hundreds of dollars cheaper than the top-flight tablets from Apple and Microsoft with their accessories.

Both tablets weigh about a pound on their own and roughly 2 pounds with the case, stylus and AC adapter included — about half what most corporate laptops weigh in at. I found that they both hit the Goldilocks sweet spot for business travel: Not too heavy, not too underpowered, and not too expensive.

Read on to see which one came out on top in my tests.

December 5, 2018 brianradio2016

Microsoft has again disparaged Windows 10 Long-term Servicing Channel (LTSC), the OS feature-fixed version that most resembles the now-discarded traditional Windows maintenance model.

“All too often, I have seen strategic decisions about Windows 10 servicing options and the use of the Long-Term Servicing Channel driven by the wrong criteria, for example, IT professional familiarity prevailing over end user value and impact,” John Wilcox, a Windows-as-a-Service (WaaS) evangelist for Microsoft, complained in a post to company blog last week.

Elsewhere in his epistle, Wilcox spelled out Microsoft’s position on LTSC’s suitability (MRI imaging equipment, air traffic control devices and others), its cadence (every three years or so) and omissions (no Edge, no Cortana). He also recounted instances when he had worked with customers who had adopted LTSC (dubbed LTSB at the time, for “Long-term Servicing Branch”) at Windows 10’s mid-2015 release. These customers, Wilcox said, were “looking to unwind their LTSC deployments and shift to SAC,” referring to the twice-a-year Semi-annual Channel release rhythm as he described the second-guessing.

Officially, LTSC is a specialized edition of Windows 10 Enterprise that promises the longest intervals between feature upgrades of any version of the OS. That means fewer changes during a set timeline, a less-involved upgrade effort and fewer disruptions – as well as fewer possibilities for applications breaking because of a modification of the OS.

At least, that’s what IT admins saw in LTSC. But not Microsoft.

Wilcox saved his hardest-hitting punches against LTSC for his list of reasons why the static OS is a poor choice for general use. He trumpeted Windows 10 SAC – and so critiqued LTSC – on topics ranging from security (“Windows 10, with the latest feature update installed, is always the most secure release”) to peripheral support (“LTSC … may not support new hardware or peripherals that you need”).

December 5, 2018 brianradio2016

Even after Facebook agreed to restrict access to user data, the social media giant gave certain companies special access to that data, according to a trove of documents released by a British parliamentary committee Wednesday. The emails and other internal Facebook documents from 2012 to 2015 show that Facebook entered…

December 5, 2018 brianradio2016

Apple’s iOS 12 is now installed on 72% of iPhones, iPads and iPods that are four years old or newer – and 70% of all iDevices, according to data from the company’s App Support webpage.

iOS 12 has seen some of the fastest user adoption in recent years, and surpassed iOS 11 just two and a half weeks of its release in mid-September. At that time (Oct. 5), iOS 12 had already been installed on 47% of iDevices.

iOS 11 is now on only 21% of all iDevices.

Apple iOS adoption Apple

Before iOS 12’s launch on Sept. 17, iOS 11 was running on 85% of iPhones and iPads, according to Apple’s developer support page.

In comparison, it took iOS 11 nearly two months last year to reach a 50% adoption rate. This year’s uptake rate is actually more similar to that of iOS 10, which was released in 2016 and had been installed on 48% of devices after only two weeks.

To date, however, 2015’s iOS 9 remains the leader for fastest uptake. Launched on Sept. 16, 2015, it needed just eight days to surpass iOS 8, and in 10 days, it garnered 50% of the install base. (A month after its release, iOS 9 was on 62% of iDevices, compared to iOS 8, which plummeted to just 29.65%.)

December 5, 2018 brianradio2016

Featured stories

Apple on Wednesday released iOS 12.1.1 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users. The update includes a series of bug fixes and feature improvements.

Users can download and install the update in Settings > General > Software Update.

One of the more annoying aspects of iOS 12’s FaceTime app was the relocation of the button to switch between the front and back cameras during a call. With iOS 12.1.1, the button to switch between cameras is back on the main screen in the FaceTime app.

ios-12-1-1.jpg Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Other improvements include additional carrier support for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR’s eSIM capability, notification previews on the iPhone XR with haptic touch, and general bug fixes.

With the release of iOS 12.1.1, hopefully, watchOS 5.1.2 isn’t too far behind. The update to the Apple Watch is rumored to add the ECG app to the Series 4 watch, as well as irregular heartbeat notifications to older Apple Watch models. Apple first announced the ECG capabilities alongside the Series 4 watch in September and promised the functionality would become available through a future update.

December 5, 2018 brianradio2016

The data suggests that sales of this year’s crop of new iPhones may not be as strong as Apple had hoped. Yesterday saw another big Apple supplier — this time audio and voice signal processing chipmaker Cirrus Logic — issue a revenue warning because of “recent weaknesses in the smartphone market.” And rumors that sales are not what the Cupertino giant had been expecting have been coming thick and fast.

Must read: iOS 12.1: Tips and tricks to help you get the most from your iPhone or iPad

Featured stories

The rumors that the iPhone XR wasn’t selling well must have rattled Apple, because it prompted Greg Joswiak, Apple vice president of product marketing to tell ZDNet’s sister site CNET that the iPhone XR had been Apple’s “most popular iPhone each and every day since it became available.”

At the same time, Apple kicked off a promotional trade-in deal that offered up to $300 off the price of a new iPhone in exchange for the old one.

So what’s going on here?

Well, following Apple’s decision to no longer report iPhone unit sales, investors, analysts, and pundits alike have taken this as an indication that Apple knows that sales are going to soften, and wants to divert attention away from unit sales and focus more on revenue and profits.

But it’s also clear that Apple now feels the need to control the narrative by getting Joswiak to boast about how well the iPhone XR is doing (presumably to counter the reports that production of this model had been slashed by up to a third).

But analysts had expected the iPhone XR to be the best selling of the new crop of iPhones, given that it’s the cheapest of the bunch. So telling us that it’s been the most popular iPhone doesn’t really mean that much. Doubly so when you consider that some analysts had expected sales of the iPhone XR to be close to that of the iPhone XS and XS Max combined. Based on this assumption, Apple could have cut production of the iPhone XR by a third and it would still be the most popular iPhone.

Also: Apple iPhone XR review: The best iPhone value in years CNET

Also note how Apple says it’s the “most popular iPhone,” and not something more hyperbolic such as “best-selling.” Also note how Apple has stopped issuing weekend sales proclamations like it once did.

One thing’s for sure, the iPhone no longer sells like it used to, because if it did, Apple would still be swaggering about it.

Third-party data sources, such as Mixpanel, also seem to be indicating that sales are weakening. Interestingly, Mixpanel’s data does corroborate Apple’s claim that the iPhone XR is the most popular model (although it is possible that data from some regions — in particular, China — are not well represented by this data).

​iPhone sales breakdown

iPhone sales breakdown


So what’s the bottom line here?

It’s comes down to the revenue. If revenue is good, then I expect the noise about the lack of unit sales to die down to a dull roar. But if revenue is down then it’s hard to see a scenario where investors and analysts are sympathetic and benevolent to Apple.

See also:

December 5, 2018 brianradio2016

I think many Mac users continue using Google’s free Gmail service.

Here are some tips that may improve your experience when using the ad company’s free email service through a browser on your Mac.

You can use drag-&-drop

Gmail on the web works like most apps on your Mac, which means you can drag-&-drop almost anything into the composition window and it will be attached to the message you are writing.

You can do this using Finder if you like, but you can also drag directly using the application icon at the top left of the item name.

You will be able to track the upload of the item using a small progress bar.

How to create a signature

You can create a signature in Gmail online.